The pay-per-click world seemed to implode a few weeks ago with the announcement that Google would be eliminating the Average Position metric in Google Ads. *Queue Panic* Average Position simply cannot go! Right? Right??
Average Position Isn’t So Great
Average Position is self-explanatory: It is the average of all ad placements. If an ad shows in position 5 and another ad shows in position 1 (both one each), the average position is 3.
Not bad, considering the ad showed above the organic search results—on average. See where I am going here?
Average Position is a flashy metric. After all, if you’re not first you’re last. Account managers and their clients have more valuable metrics to explore.
Click-Through-Rate (CTR) is the percentage of how often an ad was clicked versus the number of times it was shown. It gives insight into how well keywords are aligning with search terms. It can also provide insight into whether ads are interesting and relevant enough to the user to be clicked on.
Average Cost Per Click (When Compared To Individual CPC)
Typically, I like to shy away from any sort of metric that involves averaging (remember the Average Position example?) but Average CPC used as a baseline for performance for individual keywords can help determine future keyword and bidding strategy. If the individual CPC for a particular keyword is much higher or lower than the Average CPC, it is worth researching the cause. Does the outlying keyword convert more often? Is it cannibalizing traffic from other keywords?
Conversion Rate (how often someone completed a designated action versus how many times an ad was clicked) can tell a lot about the health of campaigns. It gives insight into how well keywords and ads reflect the content of a landing page. It can also give insight into how well the landing page is working to its full potential to complete a specified action. A low conversion rate could mean that the landing page is not aligning to the users expectations based on the ad they clicked or that the action to be completed is difficult to fulfill.
Cost Per Conversion/Cost Per Acquisition/Cost Per Action…
This metric goes by many names but it all means the same: how much does it cost to complete a designated action. How much are you willing to pay someone to download your new book? Is that an acceptable amount to pay to get someone to book your services? Setting Cost Per Conversion goals can help account managers make decisions about how much they are willing to pay per click and where budgets need to be allocated.
Impression Share Lost Due To Budget
Impression Share Lost Due To Budget is the percentage of times an ad could have been shown but wasn’t because of budget restraints. This number should to be as low as possible, but not all have the resources to throw thousands upon thousands of dollars on pay-per-click advertising. This metric can help determine which campaigns are suffering because they lack the funds to sustain a reasonable amount of impression share. Use this metric to help shift budgets around if needed (and worthwhile to do so based on the above metrics).
Search Top Impression Rate
Google introduced this metric as a replacement to Average Position in November 2018. It is a percentage of how many ad impressions appeared above the organic results versus how many impressions an ad received. This percentage is a much more structured way of judging where an ad appeared on a page and can help determine bidding strategy.
NOTE: If you are still of the “if you’re not first you’re last” mentality, Google also released the Search Absolute Top Impression Rate metric that tells how often an ad was shown at the very top of the ads results.
PPC account health is more complex than where ads appeared on average. Even the above metrics are simply vanity metrics when used alone. Determine campaign goals and select the metrics that best help determine if those goals are being met. But stop wasting money on worthless keywords trying to obtain a high Average Position. And for PPC sake, stop using average position as a selling point.
Just let it go.